Jonathan Powell

From Academic Kids

Jonathan Powell (born 1947) is a British television producer and executive. After graduating from the University of East Anglia in 1968, he began working in television drama, producing programmes such as Crown Court.

He produced several drama series during the 1970s, including literary adaptations such as A Christmas Carol (1977) and Wuthering Heights (1978). However, probably his most famous work was as producer of the Alec Guinness-starring BBC serials Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) and its sequel Smiley's People (1982).

In 1982 he was made Head of Drama Series & Serials at BBC Television, and later became the overall Head of Drama. His most prominent television post came in 1988 when he succeeded Michael Grade as the Controller of BBC One, the Corporation's premier television channel and the oldest station in the UK. He was held responsible for commissioning Eldorado a new soap opera that lasted on a year and was critically and popularly regarded as a costly fiasco and an embarrassment for the BBC. He was also responsible for the final cancellation of Doctor Who in 1989.

He held this post for four years until 1992, when he left the BBC to join the independent company Carlton Television, where he became Director of Drama & Co-Production. As of May 2004, he still holds this position.

Preceded by:
Michael Grade
1984-1988
Controller of BBC One
1988-1992
Followed by:
Alan Yentob
1992-1996
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